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At the age of 4, Lydia won her first downhill ski race at the Atikokan Carnival, setting the stage for her illustrious athletic career to unfold. She honed her skills in the Nancy Greene Ski League, moving on to the Lake Superior Ski Division in Thunder Bay in 1983. It was not long before her exceptional talents were recognized, being named to the Ontario Alpine Ski Team and the National Alpine Development Ski Team in 1985.

Travelling across North America and Europe to train and compete, Lydia's talents earned her a number of successes at the provincial, national and international levels. In the 1985-86 season she won the Canadian Junior Super Giant Slalom Championship title and was 4th overall and the highest ranked junior in the Canadian Alpine Series. In 1986-87 she competed in the husky World Downhill and put in the best performance by a Canadian with a fourth overall in the Eastern Cup Series.

In 1987-88 she claimed the Ontario Sealtest Championship title in the giant slalom, earned two 3rd place finishes at the Pre-Olympic FIS Races, claimed a bronze in the USA Junior 1 Olympic Series and won 4 gold at Eastern North American Alpine FIS events. Her 5 gold and 1 bronze medal finishes in the Canadian Alpine Series earned her the overall Canadian Alpine Series Junior Championship title for 1988. Clearly on track for a spot on the National Team, Lydia suffered a career-ending knee injury in 1989.

Lydia did not let her injury stop her from continuing her involvement in sports. A true athlete, she took on the challenge to regain the use of her leg and went on to participate in cross country and water skiing, as well as, passing along her talents to others, by coaching and instructing skiing and furthering her studies at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Sadly in August of 1994, Lydia passed away as a result of an accident which occurred while she was out jogging. Keeping her love of skiing alive, the Atikokan Ski Club opened the 'Lydia Kutra Challenge Trail' in 1995, and began awarding the 'Lydia Kutra Memorial Cup’ in honour of her excellence in and commitment to skiing.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 1998


Lydia Kutra

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